Four police officers and six horses were injured Thursday night by rioters at an Anonymous protest in London, according to police and eyewitnesses.
Two police horses suffered lacerations, presumably from broken glass, while another was allegedly struck in the eye with a stick, according to London’s Metropolitan Police. The worst of the police injuries occurred when an officer was thrown from his horse fracturing his wrist; the horse, who police named Embassy, reportedly suffered injuries to his side and front leg.
Authorities say as many 50 people were arrested at the event. They are still looking for one masked “anarchist”—allegedly photographed in a $700 Colmar ski jacket—who smashed the windows out of a police vehicle and set it on fire.
Photographs of the protest, one of many “Million Mask March” events around the world organized by the group Anonymous, depict a man lobbing traffic cones at mounted officers near the Queen Victoria Memorial at Buckingham Palace. Another shows a man in a Guy Fawkes mask approaching officers with a wooden stick raised above his head.
Daisy Greenaway, a journalism student at the University of Westminster, recounted in an article for ITV her experience at the event:
As a final year journalism student I decided to go along to the Million Mask March with a few girls from my class to report on it. Just the day before I’d been the Grants Not Debt protest and thought it wonderful.
People had clearly been drinking, groups openly smoked weed, and instead of joining together seemed to fight each other.
I quickly became stuck in a kettle outside Parliament where I witnessed a race row and was nearly hit by a flare. This was not something I wanted to be part of.
Greenaway further described the protest as it reached the palace, where officials claim both police and police horses were injured. Officials say that’s where an officer was thrown from his horse after rioters tossed firecrackers at the animal.
“A riderless horse ran straight by me, chased by rioters,” wrote Greenaway, who accused the police of animal cruelty for bringing horses to the chaotic event.
Masked guy punched me yelled & sexist abuse for pushing him away from a frightened horse #MillionMaskMarch— Daisy Greenaway (@DaisyGreenaway) November 5, 2015
Greenaway alleges that she was then assaulted by a man in a gas mask when she tried pushing him away from the horse. “In response the rioter grabbed me and, as I struggled, punched me in the stomach calling me a ‘stupid slag’ and laughed when I told him the horses were in danger,” she wrote.
First held in 2011, the “Million Mask March” is a yearly event organized around the world by Anonymous activists. It is always held on Nov. 5 due in part to the group’s fascination with the Hollywood film V for Vendetta, as well as its physical (as opposed to online) presence alongside the Occupy movement in the fall of 2011.
The event also falls on Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night, a traditional commemoration in the United Kingdom, founded to celebrate the failure of a 1605 plot by Guy Fawkes to destroy the British House of Lords and murder King James I.
While the meaning behind the origin of Guy Fawkes Night has been marginalized over the years, the festivities continue in London and, to a lesser extent, other parts of the world.
Photo via edans/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)